view of Savoy ballroom, bandstand and dance floor with blue and red scalloped carpet pattern; turquoise and ochre hues at top
Richard Yarde was born in 1939, and grew up in Boston’s South End. His earliest work commenced in the nineteen sixties, actual size representations of architectural elements executed in his signature palette of primary colors. A decade later, Yarde moved to a steady production of figural oil paintings and watercolors featuring both African-American historical players and ordinary people. His Savoy series is an incapsulation of Harlem’s most famous dance hall in its prime, watercolors adapted from photographs which capture an exuberant moment of dance and celebration. Yarde regards the weekly “ritualized” act of dancing in his youth as a powerful blend of traditional African dance and a joyous retreat from the realities of the Great Depression and American racial inequality. Richard Yarde has enjoyed a prolific academic career, teaching in Massachusetts since 1981. He served as Visiting Associate Professor of Art at Mount Holyoke College from 1980-81, and taught painting at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst until 2010.
African American; interiors; theater; dance
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